Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000. Photo: John Leivaditis/Airways

LONDON – Today, Qatar Airways (QR) resumed flights to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, with a daily service to the largest city on the Arabian Peninsula.

QR1164 took off from Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DOH) to King Khalid International Airport (RUH) at 13:45 local time and landed safely at its destination at 15:10. The flight was operated by QR’ Airbus A350-1000.

Rebuilding Its Network

Later this week, QR will resume flights to Jeddah on Thursday, 14 January (QR1188 departing DOH at 18:50) and to Dammam on Saturday, 16 January (QR 1150 departing Doha at 17:10).

The company continues to rebuild its network, which currently stands at over 110 destinations with plans to increase to over 125 by the end of March 2021.

Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER. Photo: Andrea Ongaro/Airways

End of the Three-year Qatar Blockade

Flights between Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates were able to resume as of last week. This follows the end of the blockade that began in 2017, frequently involving circuitous detours that greatly added to blocking times, fuel burning, and competitiveness.

In total, 16 airlines served between Doha and these four countries in full-year 2016, including on the fifth freedom basis. They had 13.9 million seats and, OAG shows, over one-quarter of the total capacity of Doha. With more than 7.7 million seats, the UAE was first, followed by Saudi Arabia (3.2 million), Bahrain (1.7 million), and Egypt (1.2 million).

According to an report, QR had by far the lion’s share of capacity to these countries.  It alone had 8.4 million, or six in ten of the total. They represented 19% of the network carrier’s total capacity that year. 

Featured image: Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000. Photo: John Leivaditis – @athspotting